A man who spent nearly 26 years on death row in Louisiana has walked free of prison, hours after a judge approved the state’s motion to vacate the man’s murder conviction in a the 1983 killing of a jeweller.
Glenn Ford, 64, had been on death row since August 1988 in connection with the death of 56-year-old Isadore Rozeman, a Shreveport jeweller and watchmaker for whom Ford had done occasional yard work. Ford had always denied killing Rozeman.
Ford walked out the maximum security prison at Angola on Tuesday afternoon, said Pam Laborde, a spokeswoman for Louisiana’s Department of Public Safety and Corrections.
Asked as he walked away from the prison gates about his release, Ford told WAFB-TV, “It feels good; my mind is going in all kind of directions. It feels good.”
Ford told the broadcast outlet he does harbour some resentment at being wrongly jailed: “Yeah, cause, I’ve been locked up almot 30 years for something I didn’t do.”
“I can’t go back and do anything I should have been doing when I was 35, 38, 40 stuff like that,” he added.
State District Judge Ramona Emanuel on Monday took the step of voiding Ford’s conviction and sentence based on new information that corroborated his claim that he was not present or involved in Rozeman’s death, Ford’s lawyers said. Ford was tried and convicted of first-degree murder in 1984 and sentenced to death.
Gary Clements and Aaron Novod, the lawyers for Ford from the Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana, said Ford’s trial had been “profoundly compromised by inexperienced counsel and by the unconstitutional suppression of evidence, including information from an informant”. They also cited what they said was a suppressed police report related to the time of the crime and evidence involving the murder weapon.